Facebook rolls out major new redesign to small number of users ahead of full launch in spring with a more organized look and focus on new features like Secret Crushes and Close Friends
- A small group of Facebook users have been offered the option to switch to FB5
- The major new redesign features a brand new layout and improved privacy
- Select users can switch back to the old version of Facebook at any time
- The company is also asking for feedback through a user survey
A select group of Facebook users have been given access to company’s ambitious new redesign, codenamed ‘FB5.’
Users chosen to try out the new design will see an invitation in their notifications tab when they sign in to the service, asking them if they’d like to try ‘The New Facebook.’
Those who make the switch will still have the option of returning to the old design if they’re unsatisfied with the change, and everyone will be asked to complete a survey sharing their initial thoughts on the new design.
Facebook’s new design has moved to become more ‘modern’ and fresh, with a circular logo instead of a square, as well as the removal of the blue bar, to make way for more white space
The overhaul was originally announced last April at Facebook’s annual developer’s conference in San Francisco, where the company explained some of the changes it that would be coming.
Mark Zuckerberg promised the new layout would be fresher and more modern, downplaying the famous blue frame that was once a prominent part of the site.
‘This isn’t just about building features, we need to change a lot of the ways we run this company today,’ he said last year.
The new layout features larger font and fewer icons to help cut down on clutter and create a more consistent overall experience regardless of whether users are browsing on desktop, smartphone, or a tablet.
It also lets users switch between a light and dark background similar to iPhone and iPad’s Dark Mode.
Zuckerberg promises the new Facebook will offer a new focus on user privacy with features like ‘Close Friends,’ an ability to label a small group of people from your friends lists as especially important to you
The new update will also see the widespread release of Facebook Dating, an anticipated new feature that will let users combine elements from their Facebook and Instagram profiles for a separate dating profile.
The Dating feature will let users create a list of ‘Secret Crushes,’ and when two people match they’ll be prompted to message each other, similar to any other dating app.
Facebook still hasn’t announced a date for when the new design will be accessible to everyone, but the company promises it will be sometime this year.
WHAT IS FACEBOOK’S NEW SECRET CRUSH FEATURE?
Facebook is making it easier than ever to find your next true love.
The company is launching its long-awaited Facebook Dating app, first teased last year, for users in the U.S. before the end of the year, after launching it in 19 countries so far.
As part of the move, Facebook is debuting a feature called ‘Secret Crush,’ which lets users match with any friends they may have their eye on.
Users can choose up to nine friends they’re interested in dating.
If a friend has opted into Facebook Dating, they’ll then get a notification saying they’ve been selected as a ‘Secret Crush.’
‘People have told us that they believe there is an opportunity to explore potential romantic relationships within their own extended circle of friends,’ the company said.
‘So now, if you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends who you want to express interest in.’
Should your crush select you as a crush as well, you’ll get a notification saying you’ve matched – not unlike the way Tinder or Bumble works.
If the person you choose as a Secret Crush never returns the favor, the person will never get notified they’ve been selected.
The company has also promised a number of improvements to its services beyond just the site redesign, including dramatically improved speed in sending messages through Messenger.
The standalone Messenger app itself has also been shrunken down to just 30 megabytes, less than one-third the size of WhatsApp.
The company says the new smaller app will boot just two seconds.
The company will also release standalone versions of Messenger for macOS and Windows.
The new version of Messenger will also let users label certain people as ‘Close Friends’ to more easily start group threads to share news or photos without broadcasting them to one’s entire friend’s list.
Zuckerberg also announced that Messenger would switch to end-to-end encryption to ensure its users privacy was protected.
‘Overall this is the biggest change to the Facebook app and website in the last five years,’ Zuckerberg said of the new redesign.
AT A GLANCE: WHAT CHANGES WILL YOU SEE?
Ahead of F8 on Tuesday, Facebook unveiled some major changes for Messenger and the Facebook app, including:
- Facebook’s new design has moved to become more ‘modern’ and fresh, according to Zuckerberg, with a circular logo instead of a square, as well as the removal of the blue bar at the top of the site, to make way for more white space in the site
- End-to-end encryption across the full ‘family of apps’
- A web version of Messenger for Windows and macOS
- ‘Project Lightspeed,’ or a lighter, faster version of the Messenger app
- Watch Parties for group video chats
- Close Friends feature much like that which exists on Instagram is coming to Messenger
- Facebook’s ‘big blue’ layout is now white, giving it a ‘much cleaner look and feel’
- New Groups tab in Facebook main app shows users personalized updates from the groups they’re members of, as well as a new discovery tool to connect users to groups they may not know about
- Soon, users will be able to chat with WhatsApp friends while they’re on Instagram and vice versa, all in one app. That also includes video calls and photo sharing
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